Fresh from their back-to-back Plate Division wins in Thailand and India legs, Philippine Volcanoes will see action at the fourth and final leg of the HSBC Asian Seven Series (Singapore Leg) in Yio Chu Kang Sports Complex, Ang Mo Kio, Singapore starting today.
Unable to get past the cup division in the last three legs, the Philippine national men’s rugby team hopes to launch a come back with the return of brothers Matt and Ben Saunders who were released from their clubs in Japan in the team.
Also returning in the Singapore Sevens are Alex Aronson, and Co-captains Jake Letts and Oliver Saunders, who missed the India Sevens due to injuries and work commitments.
After playing in the past three legs, the Volcanoes now rank 5th in the field of 12 teams from all over Asia. They are eyeing for a good finish in the Singapore leg to improve their ranking in Asia to have a better seeding in the 2014 Asian Games in Korea.
Pooled in Group C, Philippine Volcanoes will open their campaign at 1:30pm today against 2013 series debutante Indonesia, then will face Sri Lanka at 6:60pm. If they win both games, they will advance to the Cup quarterfinal showdown against the winner of Pool A composed of Hong Kong, Singapore and China.
Men’s rugby team coach Matt Cullen eyes for a top three finish in the Singapore leg.
“This is the strongest squad we have assembled for 2013 since competing in the Rugby World Cup Sevens. The players are very determined to prove that they are one of the top teams in Asia,” he said.
“The boys have all worked very hard at training camp and everyone knows the importance of a top 3 finish for us in Singapore. There is a good feeling amongst the team and we all know what needs to be done to achieve our goal,” co-captain Oliver Saunders adds.
“As always, we are looking forward to representing the Philippines in the big challenge ahead.”
The 2013 HSBC Asian Seven Series determines the 2013 Asian ranking of the participating teams. The ranking will be used in route to the 2014 Asian Games wherein top three winners will automatically qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Here’s the full line-up of the Philippine Volcanoes in Singapore Series:
Alex Norona Aronson
Justin Villazor Coveney
Will Tabula Dreves
Dennis Sy Su Gordon
Gareth dela Rosa Holgate
Jake Robrigado Letts (C)
Sean Celada Lynch
Benjamin Abalos Saunders
Matthew Abalos Saunders
Oliver Abalos Saunders (C)
Rupert Dian Zappia
Coach: Matt Cullen
Manager: Jarred Hodges
Physiotherapist: Rico Barin